You can catch The Little Mermaid the Musical at
The Players Theatre now through April 12

The Little Mermaid the Musical Off-Broadway at the Players Theatre NYC is going swimmingly, with its joyful cast and crew working hard to share the magic of this undersea adventure with audiences. The production includes a variety of adult actors portraying mermaids, sea creatures and sailors, and one child actor, Avery Ilardi, portraying Solo the Turtle, the Little Mermaid’s faithful companion. 

For the adults in the cast, being onstage is a privilege as well as work. There are lines to learn, rehearsals to attend, and call times to make to bring the production to life. For Avery, the experience has a few extra elements, such as attending school around rehearsals and performances—and depending on support from her mother Charlene Ilardi. 

“Being a theatre mom is a full-time job,” Charlene said. “Everyone sees the beautiful side of it, but no one sees the blood, sweat, and tears that comes along with being a theatre mom. The rejection your child faces/hears daily is hard; they need to have thick skin to be in this business.”

Avery has been acting for years, and with two younger sisters, there are a lot of moving parts to consider while helping her pursue her passion. That part of the equation falls to her mother.

“Juggling is the biggest challenge. I have two other children and a husband who all require my attention. It is hard to find a balance of giving everyone enough time.  Also, making sure every child is being picked up and taken to and from places—life is one giant game of chess.”

Of course, with the challenges of extracurricular activities also come the rewards.

“Meeting so many wonderful and talented people has been amazing!! Seeing how they interact with Avery has been one of my favorite experiences. To say my 12-year-old has close bonds with many young adults is wonderful. So many have taken her under their wing and have shown her how to be a professional at such a young age.”

While acting has turned into a years-long rewarding pursuit for Avery, Charlene does have one piece of advice for parents who are considering having their children get into theatre.

“Do not force this on your child—make sure it is something they want and love to do!!!”

Artistic Director Brenda Bell of Literally Alive, the company producing The Little Mermaid, considers children to be an integral and joyful part of the family shows they present. Most importantly, she wants children to have a positive experience and help them develop a love for theatre.

“We want the children to have fun participating and to not feel tired or stressed,” said Brenda Bell. “Our number one goal for the kids is for them to have fun and learn to love storytelling!”

You can catch The Little Mermaid the Musical at The Players Theatre- 115 MacDougal Street – NYC – now through April 12, Saturdays at 3pm & 7pm, Sundays at 11am & 2pm, with a special performance April 12 at 2pm. There is a free family workshop on Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 10am before the show. Tickets are available at